Feeds

WIMPs wipe each other out in giant radiating spot at galaxy's centre

What's 10,000 light years across and smells of gamma radiation?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Weakly interacting massive particles – WIMPs, one of the candidate hypotheses to explain dark matter – are so hard to find on Earth that nobody's ever seen them. However, a just-released analysis of years of gamma ray data suggests they're at the centre of the Milky Way in enormous numbers.

The zone they're talking about is huge: in this paper published at Arxiv and submitted to Physical Review D, the researchers find that there's a sphere with a radius of 5,000 light-years in the centre of the galaxy that's emitting more gamma radiation than expected.

In the analysis, based on publicly-available data from NASA's Fermi gamma ray space telescope, the researchers say the gamma rays can't be accounted for using by any currently-known sources. Their hypothesis is that the radiation is “consistent with the emission expected from annihilating dark matter”.

The research suggests after sources like undiscovered pulsars or cosmic rays colliding with gas clouds are eliminated from the data, the remaining energy – in the 1 to 3 GeV range – could be explained by WIMPs with mass between 31 and 40 GeV annihilating in the hugely energetic region they inhabit.

Galactic centre image by Fermilab

With known sources removed from the galactic map, the remaining noise might be

WIMPs wiping each other out. Image T Linden, University of Chicago

As one of the lead authors of the paper, Fermilab astrophysicist Dan Hooper told New Scientist, “At this point, there are no known or proposed astrophysical mechanisms or sources that can account for this emission”.

At this point, however, the signal falls far short of being a discovery: there's still a one-in-twelve chance that the signal is a fluctuation in the gamma ray background.

The team included scientists from Harvard, Harvard-Smithsonian, MIT, Fermilab, Princeton and the University of Chicago. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.